Knights come from behind win on their home opener

On Thursday Nov. 17, NECC Knights defeated Quincy College 83 to 81 at the Sports and Fitness Center in Haverhill Campus. The Knights entered the game with a 5 and 1 record after beginning the first six games to open up the season on the road. This was the Knights home opener.

I asked NECC basketball head coach Darren Stratton before the game if he expected a large crowd on opening night after going 5 and 1 in the first six games of the season?

“I think we will have a pretty good crowd tonight,” he said. “I think since it is our opening game and the kids’ family finally got a chance to watch them play. I mean we (have) been in the road for the last six games, it’s going to feel different actually playing here at home for the first time and we are already mid way through November so I mean we are excited and hopefully the kids can respond well in their home court.”

The Knights won the tip off against Quincy. Quincy scored first on a two pointer. Cristian Kinsley of Lawrence shot a three to put the Knights on top 3-2. After Quincy scored a three to put the game 5 to 3, Luis Reynoso of Lawrence tied up at five a piece.

Reynoso put the Knights on top 7 to 5. It was a back and forth game early in the contest. It was a clean basketball in the first five minutes of action with no fouls.

After Quincy commited their first fouls of the game Edwin SamMbaka of Paris, France was in the free throw line where he shot both free throws successfully. The game eventually was 13 to 11. The Knights were leading after a steal from Mehki Dedrick of Boston that tied the scoring up at 13.

A steal by  SamMbaka and he passed it to Tre Fite of Massillon, Ohio, where a foul was called as Fite went to the free throw line as he made one of two shots in. The Knights were up by a point. It was 16 to 15 when Dedrick made the two pointer and a foul Dedrick made the free throw shot to put Quincy ahead.

Quincy was on a 7-0 run against the Knights. It ended with Fite running at the glass, shooting for two and one. Reynoso took that free throw and made it in. The Knights were down by three as the score was 22 to 19. The Knights eventually were down by a point when Reynoso fouled Quincy was in the free throw line and shot two free throws in.

The game was 24 to 21 in favor of the Knights. Reynoso banged in a game tying three pointer to put the game at 24.

In the final six minutes of the first half, he wasn’t  Ryan Pacy of Salem N.H. that we know, Quincy was stealing the ball from him, Pacy did not catch the ball it  slipping out of his hand that it went out of bonds. It was nightmare for Pacy the last six minutes of the game.

A steal by Fite and a slam dunk put the Knights up 30 to 29.

Quincy went on a 12-0 run after Reynoso shot two free throws in. That made it 41 to 32 in favor of Quincy.

The Knights were down by 11 at the half, the score was 46 to 35 in favor of Quincy.

Knights preparing for the second half on Nov. 17 against Quincy on their home opener
Knights preparing for the second half on Nov. 17 against Quincy on their home opener Photo by Editor-in-Chief/ Sports Editor Jose Rodriguez

“… We beat them where we shouldn’t beat them last year in the Regionals semifinals and you know with us now being national recognized, I think they got really hyped up Luis (Reynoso) coming off National Player of the Week. They definitely came with high emotions, outwork us, out tough us, they did everything better than us in that first half, everything. It wasn’t that one thing that we did better than Quincy in that first half,” Stratton said.

He also told me that he and the coaching staff did some adjustments at half time to be prepared for the second half to keep them in the game.

Derek Williams of Rockland shot a three for Quincy. Pacy answered right back with a three of his own.

The Knights were down by 16 when Pacy went to the free throw line to shoot for two where he made one in.

The Knights started to play aggressive as they went on a 11-0 run against Quincy to make this a two point game.

The Knights were trailing 54 to 52.

Quincy went on a 9-0 run that ended when Kinsley shot a three to put the score 64 to 55 in favor of Quincy.

Reynoso shot a two, followed by Pacy’s three pointer to make this game 64 to 60. Quincy shot a three to make this a seven point game.

The Knights were looking to come back late in the game when the game was 72 to 66. Pacy shot for two at the rim and one for a chance for a three point play that made it 72 to 69.

Pacy made it a one point game in the next possession as it was 72 to 71.

The Knights were down by five with four minutes and 45 seconds remaining when SamMbaka made both shots in to make this a three point game.

The game was 79 to 73 when Reynoso scored for two.

SamMbaka tied the game with less than three minutes of regulation as the score was 79 to 79.

Pacy shot a three pointer with a minutes and 45 seconds left of regulation as the Knights were up 82 to 81.

“We definitely fought hard after being down 11 at half time I told the guys at the half time this team is not 11 points better than this and we came up and prove it in the second half,” Fite said.

The Knights went on to defeat Quincy 83 to 81.